Mother Loses Two Sons To War

Within the span of one year, Elizabeth Hoffacker of West Manheim Township received the news of her two sons' deaths in combat during the Civil War. John, 24 years old, promoted to corporal after being in the army for two months, was riding through Hanover when he was shot and killed instantly upon the first encounter with the Confederates on June 30, 1863. William was mortally wounded at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 12, 1864. The bodies of both men were buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, in a lot purchased by their father. Americans sought ways to soothe their grief over a fallen generation. Hanover residents gathered each May 30 at local burial grounds to decorate soldiers' graves with flowers. A monument at Mt. Olivet Cemetery bears the names of Civil War veterans from Hanover and surrounding areas.